Friday, February 24, 2012

First Sunday

One of my favorite things about visiting India is their church services.  I love the worship, the excitement, the way the people act toward each other.  I often think that if you can't find a church community where you live, try another culture!  It will either become home for you, or help you appreciate what you have.

There was a special speaker, Dr. Sam who is from South India, now a missionary to the north.  He spoke in English which was translated to Hindi.  His message on everyone having a purpose, was in the same vein as the message I had prepared to share with the women, "God Doesn't Make Mistakes."  As I sat there, sniffling with my cold, my back aching, I heard the symphony of other coughs, sniffles and groans and felt at one with the congregation.  Forget the pain, the aches, the culture changes, we were all there for one purpose - to worship God.

The painting presented to me during church service
The church presented us with some lovely gifts, paintings done by one of the pastors.  He had done all three in a week!  I was glad to see that our paintings were slightly smaller and could fit in a luggage.  And it did make it safely home, without glass and frame.  

We had lunch with Dr. Sam and his wife, and Rajeev. I enjoyed talking with Dr. Sam and his wife, hearing the story of how they gave up their medical careers to become missionaries and reach the people in remote villages.  They travel around the mountains to share the gospel.  I promised to pray for them, and if you think of them, pray for them too.

February 2-4

The Hotel New Balloon in Dehradun
I flew out on Thursday afternoon with a stopover in Amsterdam.  There, I met up with Cris and we flew to Delhi together.  With a brief "nap" at a hotel (about 3-4 hours sleep), we took the early train northward to Dehradun. Vijay and Rajeev met us off the train and brought us to our hotel.

We settled in and rested up a little, and then we had a dinner to go to.  Rajeev had been invited to a family's home for dinner and brought us with.  I was tired and my cold was getting worse, but I did not want to miss an opportunity that God had set before me.

Before we went, he told us that the two older sons had both committed suicide.  The house was filled with strife, there was no peace.  He had met with the family after they lost their sons to counsel and pray with them.

The home was beautiful, they are well to do people or "hi-fi."  We were received in a sitting room and visited with the couple and their son, Moon.  To our surprise, we found out that it was the wife's birthday.  She said she was very honored to have us as guests!  Now, if I had unexpected guests (I didn't know we were unexpected) for my birthday dinner which involved making more food, more clean up and serving people while I ate in the kitchen, it would not have been a happy time.  But in that culture, it is a true honor to have the privilidge of serving guests, especially foreigners for a special day.

She brought out her birthday cake and we sang to her.  Then she fed us each a piece of cake with her hand, a tradition I had heard about, but hadn't experienced until then. We prayed with them and then we went to dinner.  It was delicious yet spicy and we ended it with a sweet and coffee.  Afterward, the family surprised us by giving us a gift.  The woman said that she had been honored to have us with them for their birthday, and it was the best birthday that she had ever had.

Their home is now filled with peace, after the restoration of their marriage and healing in their family.  There was a sadness sometimes when they talked of having one son, but the strife was gone.

It is humbling sometimes to think that all I was doing was going to someone's house for dinner and blessed a woman with having her best birthday.  And yet, I believe that this visit and everywhere we went, each place was a divine appointment.  This was one sweet taste of what the trip would be like.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back and Recovering

Can you pick out the American in this picture?
I returned safely home last Friday afternoon.  The first stop, was the doctor's office!  What started as a mild cold before I left, became a respiratory infection of some sort.  I am now recovering from the travels, jet lag and sickness. 

My brain is finally catching up to my body, so I'll be posting day by day what happened while in India starting this week.  I wasn't able to access the internet much while away, we were in some remote places where not even the hotels had a connection. 

All in all it was a good trip. Good with many challenges.  And I look forward to sharing it with you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I have mapped out our itinerary for the February trip. We will stay in the north for most of the time. You can follow along in the prayer schedule that I am sending out via snail mail or email. Enjoy!
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You!

I have some great news and just wanted to share it with you right away.  The last couple of weeks, donations friends have been slow.  Perfectly understandable with the busyness of Christmas and end of year things.  I was thinking that perhaps the support letter may have got shuffled off into no man's land and some creative financing on my side was needed.

Today, in my mailbox, I received $375 in donations toward the trip!  Praise God who gives generously (through friends).  With only $447 left from the total cost.  God is faithful do supply the needs of what He is doing in India.

On the chance that more support is raised than needed (going out on faith with that thought!) then I hope to be able to sponsor one of the first sewing machines for the Aruna Project.  A sewing machine will cost about $125 and they would like to have 15 to start with.  How great would it be to partner in that way from the very beginning.  

Thank you dear friends for partnering with this project and ministry.  We are doing this together!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Partnering with the Aruna Project

Good news!  The Rotary Club near EKTA's office has agreed to help fund the Aruna Project for the long term.  Partnered with my home church and other givers, the funding is starting to come together.  Keep praying for this ministry!  For the rest of the funding, the planning stages, the Indian leaders and our team in February, we all need wisdom.  And most of all - for the women who will be attending.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Foundation of the Aruna Project

Pastor R in India who is going to be sponsoring the Aruna Project has been praying with his team about this for the last month or so.  At first they were hesitant, but the more they prayed, the more excited they got.

It's hard to say when this all started, this project is built upon the ministries and prayers that were laid in the past.  Last February, God kept nudging our dreams toward a permanent center that ministers to women.  This place will teach income generating crafts, life skills, business management all while teaching and sharing the Gospel.  Named after a nineteen year old widow, Aruna, it truly is a ministry geared toward poverty level women.

A building has been found that could house Pastor R's church and the Aruna Project.  They only need a commitment of $100 a month to hold the lease and they are raising the other half themselves.  A leader has been identified along with teachers in their area.  This is a local (North India) project with behind the scenes support from EKTA.  The nationals have a leader ready to go and even teachers who can start as soon as the project comes together.  

What began as a dream set in our hearts is now becoming a reality.  Please continue to keep this project and the leaders and planning in your prayers.  Also, for the women who will be coming to the Aruna Project center.  Thank you for all your support over the years.  This could not be happening without your partnership.